1. In a sentence or two, list the terms in the poem that are now mere memories in technology. Then indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree that the various electronic “languages” are incompatible with each other. Is this incompatibility as frustrating or as possibly dangerous as the human situation in which people cannot communicate with one another?
In the poem 16-bit Intel 8088 Chip Bukowski mentions computer terms that were obviously new at the time when the poem was written but now they are not up to date anymore (e.g. Commodore 64, IBM PC, Kaypro, Osborne, CP/M, Tandy 2000, MS-DOS). It seems that nowadays all the electronics became more unified and compatible and not as complicated as it was in the time when Bukowski came up with the idea to write 16-bit Intel 8088 Chip. However, I believe that problem of compatibility of electronic devices or “languages” cannot be compared to the problem of human miscommunication. Electronic devices cannot be invented, developed, or implemented without communication and understanding between people. Technology is an addition to but not the core of human life and relations.
2. Show how the language changes in the last six lines. Comment on the sounds implicit in the language in the early and later parts of the poems by referring to the various devices the poet uses. I’d mention such terms as assonance, consonance, alliteration, sibilance, and diction.
Last six lines show the contrasts between technology development and common life that exists besides the issue of electronic languages incompatibility. This contrast is also presented by such poetic devices as assonance (e.g. “in its disc drive”, “drive read a file”, “the turkey buzzard struts and flounces”), consonance and alliteration (e.g. “you can't run Radio Shack programs”, “nor can a Commodore 64 (sixty-four)”, “both Kaypro and Osborne computers”, “but the wind still blows over Savannah”), and sibilance (e.g. “with a Macintosh you can't run Radio Shack programs in its disc drive”, “the turkey buzzard struts and flounces before his hens”). Bukowski also works a lot with diction. He uses a lot of computer terms and names (e.g. Macintosh, disc drive, file, Kaypro, operating system) in the first part of the poem and in the last six lines his speech is very plain and even caddish which emphasizes even more the contrast between both sides of life represented.
3. Compare this poem to the previous poem, “Population Drifts,” by Sandburg. Focus on the last sections of both poems, and compare the poets’ treatments of nature. To what extent is nature seen as a saving grace in the midst of an overwhelming technology? Do you find that middle-aged and older people generally feel the same way Bukowski does when confronted by (probably) intimidating, new, technologies?
In Population Drifts Sandburg presents the idea of industrialization having harmful effect on people and taking them far from their roots, from nature. Bukowski in 16-bit Intel 8088 Chip brings the same idea about technology development. Their poems have not just close ideas but also similar structure. Both of them consist of two parts: industrialization / technology issue representation and contrastive final part that emphasizes the importance and saving power of stable and pure nature. Both poems develop the idea that one can always run away from the modern world and find his/her safe haven in nature.
I believe that Bukowski is not an exception when it comes to new technologies. For middle-aged and elderly people it is rather confusing, because at the times of their youth life was less complicated with different devices, and they managed really well to live without them.
Bukowski, Charles. “16-bit Intel 8088 Chip”. All Poetry. Allpoetry. Web. 2 Nov.2014.
DiYanni, Robert. Glossary of Poetic Terms. McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center. McGraw-Hill Education, 2013. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.
Sandburg, Carl. “Population Drifts.” Bartleby.com, 2014. Web. 2 Nov. 2014.